Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Delta 46-460 VS Medi Lathe

OK, let's just get this out of the way: Delta was more than just a slight bit pretentious when they jumped on the mini lathe bandwagon, but instead of calling theirs a "mini" like all the other manufactures, they chose to call their lathe a "midi" lathe. 
Now that I have that out of my system, I have to say that I am thoroughly impressed with these lathes!   I currently own a Jet JWL 1220 12" X 20" mini lathe, and while I like it a lot it has a couple frustrating features that the Delta midi solves.  
The biggest thing is that I hate is that it's not variable speed.  The Delta 46-460 not only has a three step pulley, but it has a variable speed DC motor with a conveniently located speed control knob that allows speed adjustments on the fly.  Add to this the fact that the Delta is also reversible at the flip of a switch, which makes final sanding a breeze. 

Another thing that I prefer on the Delta over the Jet is something that I originally liked in the Jet.  I remember when I purchased it thinking that I liked how they put the access door for the step pulleys on the back, because quite frankly it was kind of ugly.  Fast forward ten years and I can't begin to tell you what a hassle that little door has been.  (See it at the 1;55 point in the video below)

You have to lean over the headstock to see what you are doing, and the sheet metal door is spring loaded like a rat trap.  The Delta has the pulley access door on the front, and they got around the "ugly" door by making it a nice looking feature.  When the door is open you have full access to the belts, and if you study the photo at right you'll also notice a lever on the bottom right that's used to raise the motor and the lower pulley, which give you the slack in the belt that you need to easily move it to a new position.  This is very slick!  Likewise you can also see the index pin and the division markings on the left hand side of the pulley.  This is handy for fluting spindles, drilling for joinery and routing dovetails for legs on table posts.  

Woodcraft currently has a super deal going on the Delta 46-460 Variable Speed Midi Lathe (That's a link, son) where you get the $179 metal stand for FREE with the purchase of the lathe.  Additionally you get a special discount on any of their mid-size lathe tools that you add to your order.  Hurry, the deal ends Sept 30th.

Also, there is a non-variable speed midi lathe available that can save you about $100, but I would argue against it.  Why?  Because it has a 3/4HP motor rather than the 1HP VS motor.  If that isn't enough, don't forget the free stand mentioned above.  Here's a like to the Non-VS Delta Midi Lathe.

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